Not going to disagree on your May, but calling Merkel a “leader who sticks to their principles” is just utterly incorrect, I’m afraid. She has u-turned on so many issues, from Nuclear engergy to conscription, to Greek debt crisis and, of course the refugee situation. If there ever was a power-hungry politician willing to throw all principles overboard to stay at the top, it’s her.
I do not have much hope for Europe, to be honest. What is needed in this time, is solidarity among the states and a population that clearly opposes these right-wing tendencies. Both does not exist. Authoritarian governments in Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary) flat out refuse to take their share of refugees in, Germany vigorously enforces a financial policy destined to split the Union and countries like France and the Netherlands are very close to putting bonafide neo-nazis in power.
Even before the election of Wilders and LePen, the damage is already done. Hatred and xenophobia have become part of most countries again and political discourse has reached the American level of partizanship, where issues do not matter, but what side you’re on.
Anyone who’s followed history for a wee bit, knows that nationalism leads to nothing but misery. One of the first steps towards authoritarian regimes is a brutalization of language and we have that already. Our very own German brand of right-wing populist parties, the AfD (about to get ~20% of the vote come next election) just decided NOT to expel one of their leading politicians, after he called the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a “memorial of shame” in a recent speech. At the same event, a German judge and also member of the AfD, said Germany needed to be "defended from a creation of “Mischvölker”. I did not translate that into “mixed races”, because as any German will tell you, this rhethoric carries much more weight in German, as it is chillingly familiar.
This book is as relevant today, as it was when it was written (for everybody, regardless of nationality):
Just one example:
Verschärfte Vernehmung (“Intensified interrogation”): torture
I think the US calls it “enhanced interrogation”.